Smell of Strawberries

Whether the Glaroon Slipped Up, or not, is probably highly hypothetical.

I mean, here it is – this life, these moments, these thoughts – and does it truly make a difference if it’s stage-managed or not?

Not really, since the stage-manager, the Glaroon, the “they” who would presumably be handling it all are just another aspect of myself.

So have a laugh, have a bit of a marvel if you will and pass right along.

This morning I smelled strawberries on the bus.

Correction – I smelled an aroma which is what perfumiers like to think of as “strawberry”.

There were only 3 other people on the bus: the driver, a middle-aged Indian woman and a youngish Black guy. I was sitting furthest back in the bus as is my wont, and I assumed that one of the other people on the bus had opened something with that strawberry smell; some tobacco, a packet of sweets or a cold drink. Except that eating and drinking is entirely forbidden on the Gautrain Bus, and no-body was doing any of that.

It’s just possible that the smell came into the bus from the outside. Right this moment I feel that’s the most likely answer, as I sniffed the same smell again 10 minutes later as I was walking down West Street.

It’s also possible that my brain is Having a Moment and generating phantom smells. But I doubt that.That particular nasal shade of strawberry is a very human-manufactured one, after all.

My money is on a rogue vaporiser factory somewhere in the Sandton area.

There’s always the paranormal explanation, of course…but let me not go there today.

Maybe Tomorrow.

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The Glaroon Slipped Up

Wednesday morning and Back on the Bus.

I’m the only passenger on the first bus out of Monte Casino and the terminus circle is oddly devoid of late/early revelers. It’s just the bus driver, a couple of security guards hiding in the warmth of the carpark and three cab drivers snoozing behind the wheel.

When I get off the bus – in solitary splendour – at Sandton Station, it’s cold. A feral pigeon and two glossy starlings have taken advantage of the dearth of humans to forage near the taxi rank, but flap away at my approach. The station guards, who I normally greet at just before 5:30 am, are nowhere to be seen.

Heading out of the station, the chill bites down a tiny, gentle bit. As if to warn.

The streets are dark and streetlamp-lit, but there are no people on them.

An empty taxi minibus cruises past.

Well, the streets and trees and shrubberies are all where I left them. But where are all the pedestrians?

There should be at least some precinct security guards posted at intervals along West Street. There should be passengers alighting from the minibus taxis pulling over every few metres. There should be folks exiting the Michaelangelo Hotel towards the station. There should be a small group of vendors coming up the road with their wares on their heads.

But there is no-one on the street.

I cross the road at the robots – admittedly dodging another non-stopping taxi – and make it to the office, having seen not one single pedestrian for the last 10 minutes. It’s a bit eerie, but then it’s Winter and fairly chilly so maybe everyone is getting up later.

That was Wednesday. Thursday, it was like Wednesday never happened. There were three more passengers on the morning bus, the circle at Monte Casino was fairly full of loud-mouthed drunks, the security guards were all back at their posts in the station and on West Street, and people were getting out of taxis like nothing happened.

I may sound crazy – and no doubt by this time I am, pretty much – but I had a distinct feeling of the heavy velvet curtains having been twitched aside prematurely 24 hours ago, before the scenery was all fully in place.

Robin

I have most of my hearing back today – coming and going, it is true, but more here than not-here.

I stepped out on the decking which runs along the West Street side of the office and immediately a little bird flew down to sing at me. A robin.

Later, the same bird was perched, singing, on the second-floor fire escape, while I looked up at it and a pigeon on the third floor railing looked down on it.

Ken Wilber:

That very Witness is Spirit within, looking out on a world that it created. It sees but cannot be seen; it hears but cannot be heard; it knows but cannot be known. It is Spirit itself that sees with your eyes, speaks with your lips, hears with your ears, reaches out with your arms. When will you confess this simple secret and awaken from the gruesome nightmare? 

Can you see the words on this page? Then 100% of Spirit is present, looking out through your eyes. Can you feel the book in your hands? Then 100% of Spirit is present, taking the world in its hands. Can you hear the sound of that bird singing? Then 100% of Spirit is present, listening to that song. 

Songbird

The world is different when you’re deaf.

Now, I don’t usually use earbuds, but this morning my soul seemed to have taken a masochistic streak onboard and I found myself trying to clean my problematic ears with the cotton-tipped devils.

know you’re not supposed to stick anything smaller than your elbow into your ear. I know that, OK? But there I was, twiddling the little plastic stems into ears which have the greatest difficulty staying unblocked as it is, never mind the outside interference.

Up until that point, I had one ear which has been working fairly well over the past 6 months, while the other generates a white-noise-like hum at all times and has difficulty in catching sound waves. But I could get along.

Now, however, I find myself cocooned in a roaring silence through both ears. I’m not at all comfortable with this – in fact, I’m more than a little irritated and so am constantly on the edge of being irritating to others.

I have to keep telling them, for instance, that today I’m deaf as a post. Not distracted, not just a little hard-of-hearing, but actually unable to divine anyone’s meaning unless I’m either looking at them and reading their lips, or they talk very slowly and loudly, as you would do to an imbecile.

On the other hand, of course, there are so many things in this world that I’m probably better off not hearing. The local and international news. The godsdamned gunfire-soaked shows which pass for American Entertainment. My partner muttering in a tourette’s-syndrome like manner under his breath. The neighbourhood dogs barking and howling to be let in out of the cold.The taxis and mal-tuned engines along West Street. The outer office inhabitants having a meeting. The endless, inane, low-intelligence drivel which passes for social conversation. Adverts-any and all adverts.

Muting or cutting these out should be an unalloyed blessing. but I’m still irritated. I guess I would like the chance to, hearing, complain about them.

And yet it’s not a total descent into madness. Walking out onto the deck – the traffic muted, the chatter of other people almost entirely absent – I hear one clear, liquid string of notes coming from the trees. I cannot see the songbird, but he has let me know that I’ve not been abandoned, after all.

Power of Opinion

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Saturday morning, and, having decided to cut my weekly washing into 4 loads rather than 2, I’m awaiting the machine wash-cycle’s pleasure and watching the news on the BBC.

(I watch the Beeb because, frankly, I prefer their use of language – rather than the parochial butcherings of the US or South African news services.)

A segment on Honduran immigrants to the US comes on.

The Trump ‘regime’ (it’s really a shit-show lead by an incompetent con artist, but ‘regime’ will do) has decided to end the protection given up to now to refugees from Honduras.

An elderly Honduran woman is among those interviewed. Speaking in Spanish, she opines that, while ‘gringos’ are undoubtedly intelligent, they sure aren’t hard-working like Hondurans.

Now, that is a blanket statement of racial bias if ever I heard one. But she is elderly, non-White…and a woman. These 3 characteristics give her a status slightly above a dormouse in the social hierarchy. If she had been, say, a middle-aged White bloke, her statement amounting to “Whites are lazy” would have been roundly condemned, and probably not been allowed to be aired at all.But there she ws, on international television, blithely calling Whites lazy and no-one batting an eyelid.

What this underlined most strongly for me was that your position on the social ladder determines the power of your opinion. Someone (that middle-aged White bloke for example) has the power to,presumably, hire and fire people, and his opinion carries a much greater weight of authority than that of the elderly Latina woman. So she gets away with it, whereas he, these days, wouldn’t.

And that’s OK. With great privilege comes great responsibility, both for our selves and for others, so the higher your social standing, the more powerful your every opinion truly becomes.

But for this morning, I just had a laugh-out-loud moment.